Or, Don’t Hate on the “Cute, Cheap” Wine
I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle today about the rise of Barefoot Cellars. Now, I’ve never discounted Barefoot. Primarily because I love a good mimosa and Barefoot, being not too expensive and in some iterations, not too sweet, is perfect for that. Mimosas every Sunday without breaking the bank!
But overall, I’m haven’t been a huge fan of Barefoot’s portfolio – until I read the article. Apparently, Barefoot is a rather common entry point into wine for millenial aged wine drinkers? Why? Because it’s approachable (a colorful bare foot on the label) and affordable ($6.99 – $14.99, roughly).
Take a moment, everyone who is not a millenial, and think back to when you were just starting in wine. I remember it vividly. I was away at college and for the first time, away from home. I spent way too much money on the Kentucky gem that is Purple Passion (some sort of grapey drink mixed with Everclear, handily packaged in a 2-liter) and beer. My New Year’s resolution that year was to drink only WINE. I figured I couldn’t really afford it, so I would drink less of it.
By the time I left college, I’d graduated (literally) to Beringer White Zinfandel and various iterations of Turning Leaf. Now those sound rather harsh to me now (and Beringer’s White Zin profits help them create some remarkable Reserve wines you rarely hear about), but it was definitely progress. My boyfriend at the time I graduated must have recognized something in me because he bought me a lovely, vine-detailed wine rack. In fact, I only recently parted from that wine rack, almost 20 years later.
My point is that, as educated wine folks, we tend to make fun or sneer at the lower end, animal/cute labeled wines. We shouldn’t. Those wines are the gateway drug, so to speak, for a younger generation. Just as I was hooked for a while on Beringer’s white zin, the millenials amongst us are drinking Barefoot.
I say, don’t judge. Because sooner than later, those millenials may be planning vacation trips to Sonoma and enjoying wine tastings every weekend at Party Town and Party Source.
Marie Antoinette supposedly said, “Let them eat cake.” Me? I say, “Let them drink anything.” Because the more folks who learn to appreciate wine, through any method, the better. And kudos to Barefoot, as they’re helping recruit a whole new generation of wine drinkers …
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